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Swordquest

Swordquest

Swordquest

Swordquest is an unfinished series of video games produced by Atari in the 1980s as part of a contest. Each of the games came with a comic book that explained the plot, as well as containing part of the puzzle that had to be solved to win the contest. The series had its genesis as a possible sequel to Atari's groundbreaking 1979 title Adventure, but it quickly developed a mythology and system of play that was unique. The comic books were produced by DC Comics, written by Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway, and drawn and inked by George Pérez and Dick Giordano.

The games of the Swordquest series were some of the earliest attempts to combine the narrative and logic elements of the adventure game genre with the 'twitch' action gameplay of the action genre, making them some of the very first 'action-adventure' games. However, the series was unable to hold the last two contests, the grand finale contest and release the final game in the series due to Atari's financial problems leading up to and being a part of the Video Game Crash of 1983.

Swordquest Plot

The games follow twins named Tarra and Torr. Their parents were slain by King Tyrannus's guards, prompted by a prophecy by the king's wizard Konjuro that the twins would slay Tyrannus. The twins were then raised as commoners by thieves to avoid being slain by the king. When they go to plunder Konjuro's sea keep, they accidentally reveal their identities to him. The twins then start running from a demon summoned to kill them, but it appears that a jewel they stole attracts it. After smashing the stone to avoid the demon, two of Tyrannus's old advisers appear and tell the two about the "Sword of Ultimate Sorcery" and the "Talisman of Penultimate Truth." They are then transported to Fireworld.

Swordquest Gameplay

Each installment in the series had essentially the same gameplay: logic puzzle adventure style gaming interspersed with arcade style action gaming. The character wanders through each screen, picking up and dropping items, playing simplified variants of current 'twitch' games of the time between screens. If the correct items are placed in a room, a clue shows up, pointing the player to a page and panel in the comic book included with the game. There, the player would find a word that was hidden in that panel. If the player found all five, or in the case of Waterworld, four, correct clues, they could send the sentence to Atari and have a chance to compete in the finals and win a prize. During the playoff, which ran on special versions of the games, the person who managed to find the most clues within 90 minutes would be considered the winner. The winners of the four game contests would go on to a final competition where they would compete for a sword valued at $50,000. However, only two of the competitions actually took place before Atari cancelled the contest in 1983, as previously noted.


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